“ONE HAPPY ISLAND,” Aruba’s slogan, truly permeates throughout the entire island. Arubans are friendly, welcoming and, well, happy.
On my first trip to Aruba, I was lucky enough to stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, as part of its Perfect Ladies’ Retreat offer. The offer includes a stay in an executive suite, daily breakfast for two, $50 casino play, a discount at its boutique, a private skin consultation for two, a complimentary enhancement with each spa treatment, private casino clinic experience, an evening amenity, private limo transportation to and from the hotel with Champagne and two add-on activities to customize your stay. It was an incredible way to experience the property.
Located on Palm Beach, the property features 320 rooms and suites, all with private balconies and ocean views. There are four dining outlets on site as well as room service. Solanio serves as a breakfast spot in the mornings and at dinner transforms into a fine-dining Italian restaurant. BLT Steak is a modern take on an American steakhouse, serving steak and seafood and utilizing the seasonal ingredients of Aruba. Madero Latin Grill is the property’s poolside restaurant, serving light lunch fare and cocktails. Divi Bar & Lounge, the lobby bar, stays open all day for light snacks and sushi in the evenings.
Guests can take advantage of the 24-hour casino, two pools and, of course, the beach. Non-motorized water activities, including paddle boarding, are complimentary. While the property offers numerous on-site activities, the concierge can arrange for off-site excursions around the island as well.
I had plenty of time to take in the property during my stay, though I was most excited to experience the spa.
On the day of my treatment, I visited the fitness center for a quick workout. In addition to a variety of cardio equipment, free weights and weight machines, the fitness center offers daily fitness classes. I then made my way to the beach to enjoy some cabana time. I enjoyed a light lunch of ceviche from Madero in the cabana ahead of my 2 p.m. appointment.
The spa is tucked away on the ground floor of the property. I arrived for my appointment early, as I wanted to utilize the facilities. After checking in, the attendant gave me a tour. The 15,000-square-foot spa features 13 treatment rooms. The women’s and men’s facilities are entirely separate. On the women’s side, there are showers, a locker room, relaxation room, steam room, whirlpool and sauna. These are open to all hotel guests for complimentary use.
The spa offers a variety of options including massages, facials, body treatments, nail services, a salon and other signature offerings. Special services for men and pregnant women are also available.
I started with a quick dip in the whirlpool. Feeling refreshed, I made my way into the steam room. After only a few minutes, I felt the benefits. I saved the sauna for after my treatment.
After changing into my robe, I made my way to the relaxation room. The lounge chairs were easily the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced at any spa. The plush blankets and cozy robes weren’t too bad, either. I sipped some watermelon-infused water and enjoyed the view of the blue sky and swaying palm trees. I was so deeply relaxed ahead of my appointment, I almost didn’t want to leave the relaxation room!
My therapist escorted me to my treatment room. I received a sneak preview of a new treatment: Misterio di Aloe. This consisted of a 50-minute massage employing natural aloe products followed by a 25-minute foot reflexology and aloe facial application.
My therapist, Robyn, was fantastic. She applied the ideal amount of pressure and employed incredibly smooth, continuous movements. She gave special attention to my back, relieving tension from my long day of travel. I had never experienced foot reflexology before, and I expected it to feel similar to a pedicure. I was wrong. Robyn applied firm pressure to specific points on my feet, corresponding to the various glands and organs of my body. The movements put me almost in a trance. I only noticed as I jolted awake while she massaged my right foot. I immediately eased back into a state of blissful relaxation, where I stayed through the remainder of the experience. The calming aloe products had a subtle, refreshing aroma and left my skin and face feeling dewy and soft.
Robyn met me outside the room with a glass of water and a small strawberry smoothie. She directed me back to the relaxation room where I enjoyed the beverages and reflected on my experience.
Before leaving, I stopped at the sauna. Not wanting my experience to end, I lingered longer than planned. My experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba Spa left me feeling, in a word, happy.
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba Spa
L.G. Smith Blvd. 107
Palm Beach, Aruba
tel 297 527 2222
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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